‘Spirit of Place (or genius loci) refers to the unique, distinctive and cherished aspects of a place. It is thus as much in the invisible weave of culture (stories, art, memories, beliefs, histories etc) as it is the tangible physical aspects of a place (monuments, rivers, woods, architectural style, pathways, views and so on) or its interpersonal aspects (the presence of family, friends and kindred spirits).’
ICOMOS, Quebec Declaration on the preservation of the spirit of place, October 2008
Spirit of Place is at the heart of how people feel about and experience the DVMWHS. It captures what makes a place special and, ultimately, why people should love that place. Spirit of Place relates to a wide range of subjective human responses, values and perceptions to the fabric and framework of a place.
It is built by both its tangible qualities such as scenery, buildings, land-uses, colours, textures and smells and also by intangible cultural elements such as values; associations with myths/legends; traditional activities; aesthetic qualities; awareness of by-gone times and emotions and spiritual qualities such as awe, delight and the evocation of memories.
These aspects may be experienced through emotions and senses and we best understand them through listening to the range of perceptions and values experienced by individuals and communities of interest, including, of course, those who live and work in a place.